Art Beatus Gallery
50 Peel Street, Ground Floor, Central, Hong Kong
6pm to 8pm (Thursday) on June 7th, 2012
Artist will be in attendance
The title of this exhibition, Panda Warriors, calls up immediate associations that the exhibits may have a certain element of gChinesenessh in them and that they may have something to do with the terra cotta soldiers of the Qin Dynasty. This raison dfetre is to the point but there is much more to it. San Francisco-based sculptor, Zhang Wanxin, indeed has a lot more to pass on to the viewers of his sculptures.
The word "Panda" may have been used to attract attention but the word gwarriorsh definitely is used to highlight an attitude to life as well as the determination to claim onefs right on a dignified piece of turf under onefs feet.
Trained in Luxun Institute of Fine Arts, Shenyang, China, Wanxin went on to continue his degree of masters of fine arts in the Academy of Art University of San Francisco in 1992. After graduation, he chose to stay in the United States and since then has been teaching in the university. From Jilin to Liaoning and then to San Francisco, Wanxin's meandering route to the foreign land and his personal struggles to become a sculptor and an educator and to realize them all in his adopted home, in fact, are a road map of a gwarriorh.
Encapsulated in his figures is one unyielding will as well as the extraordinary ease and superficial calm. These warriors seem to be looking intently at the upheavals of everyday life, though often with their real selves concealed behind a pair of sunglasses.
The details in their facial expressions, the cut scars on the bodies, the drip marks of the glazes together with the expressive execution of the torsos and armourscall these have demonstrated Wanxinfs fluency in the sculptorfs language and his skilful application of the medium. They, as a result, will assure the lasting enhancement of these warriors.
The Panda Warriors exhibition is to open on June 7th, 2012 at Art Beatus Hong Kong. For further information or interview with the artist, you can contact us at [email protected] or call Dominic Chan at 2522-1138 or Josephine Hau at 2526-0818.
Zhang Wanxin - Artist's Statement
I absolutely believe that " revitalization" of artistic concepts through the past, present, and future is a very challenging task. Regardless of the cultural implications, space, and time between these acts of recreation, one must also keep in mind that art is not the only motivation behind them. More importantly, the spirit and content of today’s society is the true source of these attempts.
I grew up during an extremely chaotic time in China’s history, the politics in the 1960’s to 1970’s was more than just propaganda. The invisible brainwashing of the people to believe that Chairman Mao was their one and only leader, almost a deity was strong and undeterred. Thus, when I visited Terra Cotta Warriors of the Qin excavations – I immediately saw the similarities between these two societies. The feudal society of the Qin Empire demanded absolute obedience and submission to the King, an idea clearly reflected by the hordes of warriors in the pits. Yet thousands of years later, in modern China, this same oppression of the people is still alive and strong. It was that moment that I had the immediate inspiration to recreate these warriors and through an artist perspective.
Since I arrived in the United States many year ago, I was presented with an environment to voice my ideas and thoughts through my art. For someone with my background, this privilege is invaluable. With my new surroundings, including my connection with Christianity, influence from famous Bay Area funk artists, and the contemporary American artist society , this became the perfect birthplace for my attempt to re-conceptualize the warriors’ lives which is a serious subject matter with sense of humor.
It was during this experience that I truly realized the challenge behind this attempt. Not only have I been able to constantly test the limits to see how far we can go with clay, also have to push myself to see how I can truly incorporate my purpose, inspirations, critiques, and reflections to convey contemporary message. My art now is not just a reflection of the appearances of the original warriors, but also include in them a new sense of spirit and meaning. After all, the Qin Terra Cotta warriors are history to us now, but my warriors could be history to generations after us.